Monday, December 17, 2012

Were My Pre-Season Questions Answered?

Way back in January, before the LPGA season began, I listed 10 questions that I hoped would be answered this year.

Below I have shown those questions again. Let's see whether or not they were actually ever answered.

1- We all know that Yani Tseng is the real thing, no question about that. The question here is can she be as dominant in 2012 as she was in 2011, or will someone else step up and challenge her for her crown?

This question was answered very definititively, Yani was nowhere near the player in 2012 that she was in 2011. After winning three of the first five titles of the year, she was hardly a factor. Yani failed to even finish in the top 25 in 11 of her last 15 tournaments, resulting in her almost blowing what was a huge lead in the Rolex rankings. Although still #1 in the world, her lead has shrunk to about one quarter of what it once was.
Stacy Lewis replaced her as player of the year, and Stacy and Inbee Park are going to make it very hard for Yani to remain the game's #1 ranked player next year.

2- Lexi Thompson will be 17 years old on February 10th. We all expect her to be an elite golfer soon. Is it expecting too much of her to think she can be a top 10 golfer this year?

At seventeen years old she is not a top ten golfer yet. But finishing #21 on the Money list is quite an accomplishment for a teenager. Lexi started the year ranked #39 in the world, and is now ranked #24.
Look for more upward movement in 2014.

3- No American player has won the Player of the Year award in 18 years. Will someone rise to the occasion in 2012?

We all know by now that Stacy Lewis became the first American to win the player of the year award since Beth Daniel in 1994.

4- Can Stacy Lewis and Sandra Gal, the golfers who in my opinion improved the most in 2011, continue to do so in 2012?

The Stacy Lewis part of this question has already been answered. As far as Sandra Gal is concerned, although she didn't break into the winner's circle, she had a very similar year to 2011. She finished in the top 25 on the money list both years.

5- Who will win the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award? Will it be one of the favorites (Lexi Thompson & So Yeon Ryu), or will someone else sneak up and pull off an upset?

There were some fine rookie seasons in 2012 (Sydnee Michaels, Lizette Salas, and Danielle Kang come to mind), but Ryu and Thompson were head and shoulders above the rest. You can now make a case for So Yeon Ryu being among the best in the game already.

6- Is Ryann O'Toole the real thing, or just a "flash in the pan"?

Writing unflattering things about my favorite players is probably the most difficult thing I have to do on here. That said, my crystal ball is leaning towards "flash in the pan".

7- Who is the real Song-Hee Kim? Is it the golfer that had 15 top 10 finishes in 2010, or the golfer who had only two in 2011?

I guess it's the golfer who had zero top tens in 2012, and lost her playing card.

8- Can Michelle Wie, who graduates from Stanford University this year, now focus on golf and move up to elite status?

Michelle dropped all the way down to #64 on the money list. Maybe a better question for next year will be, can Michelle play well enough to keep her card? This is turning into quite a sad story. It is too bad because
Michelle winning would be great for the LPGA.

9- Can Amy Yang and Brittany Lang, two golfers with so much talent, finally break through and get their first LPGA victory?

Brittany finally got her first victory, so did five other golfers. We are still waiting for Amy to break through.

10- Can Michael Whan, who has done a great job so far, continue adding tournaments and get the number up to 30 by 2013?

Mr. Whan added 3 more tournaments in 2012, bringing the number to 27. Sometime in the next three weeks I would imagine the 2013 schedule will be announced. Will it get to 30? Stay tuned.


Average Golfer said...

It appears by signing the huge Nike deal in her mid-teens Ms Wie had her frosting before the cake. Motivation is not there and sticking with Leadbetter just confirms it.

IceCat said...

Whither Song-Hee Kim? Well the 2013 Priority List is out and she appears in Category 1 via a medical exemption. Huhhh?


Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

Wow! I see that. I would really be upset if I was #71 (Dewi Claire Schreefel), as she was knocked out of the U.S. Open.

IceCat said...

No; the Priority List, which is used only for standard full-field events, is based on the 2012 Money List, which is one of the qualification criteria for the US Women's Open. As it is not an event controlled by the LPGA it is not utilizing the Priority List and therefore Song-Hee would still have to qualify.

thejamierbelyea said...

Yes, as IceCat said the US Open follows top the 70 from the Official Money List and not from the priority list.

Both South Korean stand outs Song-Hee Kim & Seon Hwa Lee ended their seasons in July, and both have medical exemptions for 2013. Which is great news, as I was worried when neither was entered into Q School.

thejamierbelyea said...

On another note quietly it seems, former winner Shi Hyun Ahn had a baby this past April. She sits at 133 on the priority list with the top 20 players from Q School.